Reefer Madness

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A Reefer Madness poster.

Reefer Madness is a 1936 film inspired in part by a horrific murder committed in 1933 by cannabis-user Victor Licata of his parents and three siblings in their home in Ybor City, California. The film is about the dangers of using cannabis. However, because of the film's campy acting, the film has become popular among potheads.

Additional anti-marijuana or anti-drug movies of the 1930s include Maniac (1934), Cocaine Fiends (1935) and Marihuana (1937). In 1937, Congress then passed The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, Pub.L. 75–238, 50 Stat. 551 (Aug. 2, 1937), which imposed a tax on the sale of cannabis.


The film was originally financed by church groups. However, when the budget became too big, the film was sold to a producer. The producer released the film on the exploitation circuit. The film did not do very well until the 1970s when it started being shown as a midnight movie. It became very popular among cannabis users. This is because, the film is overacted and some of the things in it are completely outrageous (for instance, the heroine jumps out the window instead of going to jail). In 2004, 20th Century Fox as well as Legend Films released a colorized version of the film. The use of color is applied humorously to keep with the campy style of the original. The film has fallen into the public domain, making it available for anyone to download or put onto DVD. On, the film holds a 50% rating. On, the film holds a C+ rating from its users.


The film is currently available on DVD.

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